Astronomers discuss future of Space VLBI in Dwingeloo

Published on 11 November 2022
Group Picture ngsVLBI

On 17-19 October 2022, JIVE and ASTRON co-hosted the 3rd Next Generation VLBI workshop (ngSVLBI-3) in Dwingeloo, the Netherlands. The hybrid workshop was attended both in-person and remotely by about 90 participants from all over the world.

The ngSVLBI-3 workshop focused on the future of high-resolution radio interferometry in Space as a natural space-borne extension of advanced existing and prospective Earth-based facilities (Global VLBI, EHT and ngEHT, LOFAR) and Space VLBI missions VSOP and RadioAstron.

The workshop programme covered all spectral domains from single-digit megahertz to terahertz. It included a posteriori reviews of the best interferometric achievements on the ground (LOFAR and other low-frequency facilities, global VLBI and EHT) and in space (VSOP/HALCA and RadioAstron). These reviews served as starting points for deliberations on the next steps in creating VLBI facilities distinguished by the characteristics which principally cannot be achieved by Earth-based facilities
The presentations at the workshop covered a range of science topics from detection of cosmological inhomogeneities of the atomic hydrogen distribution in the early Universe to enigmatic processes in the immediate vicinity of supermassive blackholes. The workshop devoted a sizable part of its program to the discussions of technological challenges and potential synergies of SVLBI systems at various frequency domains. At the ultra-long wavelength domain, several ongoing project studies aim at creating free-flying and Moon-based interferometric systems in the next one-two decades. Such projects are being worked on in the United States, Europe and China. Several mission studies at the "traditional" VLBI domain of decimeter-centimetre wavelengths are being conducted in China. Finally, at millimetre and sub-millimeter wavelengths, several teams work toward formation of a system, ad hoc or dedicated, able to achieve a single-digit microarcsecond resolution.
There is every reason to believe that the challenges can be resolved. The workshop allowed its participants to chart approaches to solving the technological problems of the next generation SVLBI systems. A leap in Space is inevitable for the advancement of high-resolution radio astronomy. The ngSVLBI-3 workshop in Dwingeloo made its contribution on the road toward future radio interferometers in Space.
The ngSVLBI-3 workshop continued the sequence of international meetings originated in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, in September 2018 and followed by the meeting in Charlottesville, VA, USA, in January 2020.

Additional information

The European VLBI Network (EVN) is an interferometric array of radio telescopes spread throughout Europe, Asia, South Africa and the Americas that conducts unique, high-resolution, radio astronomical observations of cosmic radio sources. Established in 1980, the EVN has grown into the most sensitive VLBI array in the world, including over 20 individual telescopes, among them some of the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescopes. The EVN is composed of 13 Full Member Institutes and 5 Associated Member Institutes.

The Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) has as its primary mission to operate and develop the EVN data processor, a powerful supercomputer that combines the signals from radio telescopes located across the planet. Founded in 1993, JIVE is since 2015 a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) with seven member countries: France, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain and Sweden; additional support is received from partner institutes in China, Germany and South Africa. JIVE is hosted at the offices of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) in the Netherlands.


Group picture in-person participants 3rd Next Generation VLBI workshop. Credit: JIVE.


Giuseppe Cimò,
JIVE Interim Head Space and Innovative Applications Group

Leonid Gurvits
JIVE Senior Astronomer Emeritus

Jorge Rivero González
JIVE Science Communications Officer